by Will Overton
The opening night of the football season took center stage last night all across America, but while the football was being played there was baseball action too. If you missed out on what happened in baseball last night we’re here to help by breaking down the top 10 stories of the night from last night:
1) Another Big Shot Hit By Yulieski Gurriel
One night after hitting his first major league homerun, Yulieski Gurriel apparently decided he liked it and hit another one out last night. Gurriel went 2 – 4 at the plate with 2 R, 1 HR and 1 RBI. On top of this being his second game in a row with a HR he has hit safely now in five straight games and is hitting .333 in 15 games since his callup. Gurriel has been showing decent plate discipline so far and now that the power is coming alive he is a much more appealing fantasy option. Gurriel could have value in 12 team and deeper leagues at this point and I could see a finish that creates a decent amount of buzz going into next season.
2) The Power Has Returned To Carlos Santana In 2016
During the preseason it was almost hard to believe how late Carlos Santana was going in some drafts. You couldn’t really blame teams for waiting on him after his power decline the year before and paltry average. He’s flown back onto radars this season though with a return in power numbers. Santana hit his 30th HR of the season last night, the first time in his career reaching 30 HR’s in a season. The average still isn’t anything to get excited about, but his OBP is great with all of his walks and he has become one of the more unconventional, but still successful, leadoff hitters in the game. I think we can expect to see Santana go a lot sooner in drafts next season.
3) There Seems To Be No Stopping National League Ivan Nova
I speculated after the trade deadline as to whether a fresh start and a move to the National League would rejuvenate Ivan Nova, and that has absolutely been the case thus far. Nova pitched a complete game last night against the Cincinnati Reds, allowing just one run to score on six hits, not walking anyone and striking out four batters. This is Nova’s second CG in his last four outings and it’s the fifth time in seven outings that he has allowed two or fewer runs. Overall, Nova is now 5 – 0 as a member of the Pirates rotation with a 2.53 ERA. The only drawback is the lack of K’s, 32 in 46.1 IP. Even without the K’s Nova deserves a spot in all but the shallowest of leagues right now.
4) An Impressive Season Debut Against A Great Team For Alec Asher
It’s no easy task to go on the road and face the Washington Nationals in your season debut as a starter, but Alec Asher did it in style last night. Asher had six scoreless innings of work last night, allowing just two hits and one walk in that time, never really looking to be in trouble. The only downside of the performance was that Asher didn’t have any strikeouts in the game. Asher struggled in his brief call up last season, but he looks determined to make this one a better go. Asher has some top notch control which we saw last night, but the lack of strikeouts, which is a historical thing with him, limit his usability in fantasy leagues.
5) Another Young Slugger Showing Off For The Yankees
He’ll have a hard time following in the footsteps of Gary Sanchez and the record setting kind of power numbers he has come out and put up. That said, Tyler Austin is definitely making a splash already with his power. Austin went 2 – 4 last night with a solo HR, and an impressive one at that as Austin walked it off with his 9th inning shot. This is Austin’s second HR in three games and his third in just 53 AB’s so far since being called up. Austin has been striking out a fair amount, 18 times already, but he’s clearly got power that translates to the highest level. If you need some power for the stretch run, Austin could be useful in a lot of leagues.
6) Finishing Strong: Kevin Kiermaier Is Picking It Up For The Stretch Run Of The Season
A four hit game last night has extended Kevin Kiermaier’s hitting streak to 12 games now. Last night Kiermaier went 4 – 5 with 2 R, 2 HR and 2 RBI. So far in just seven games played in September Kiermaier has posted a line of .448, 8 R, 4 HR, 8 RBI and 3 SB. Overall it has actually been a little bit of a disappointing season for Kiermaier, but a strong September could go a long way in changing the way people see this season. With this late surge Kiermaier still has a shot at reaching 15 HR’s and 20 SB’s which no one will complain about and his average could still reach the .260 range. Despite his struggles I still believe Kiermaier has a blend of power and speed that makes him a guy to use in almost all formats, and with how hot he is right now I think he should be owned everywhere.
7) The Struggles Of Jaime Garcia Continue
The last time he took the mound Jaime Garcia looked really good and it appeared as though he may have righted the ship after some rough starts, but that didn’t appear to be the case last night. Garcia as lit up by the Milwaukee Brewers young lineup, ending the night with a line of 3.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 1 BB and 3 K. This is the fourth time in five starts that he has allowed five runs or more to score. I would personally have a hard time starting Garcia right now, and in standard leagues and even some 12 team leagues he is droppable.
8) Orlando Arcia Looking To Make An Impression Before End Of The Year
The day is coming where Orlando Arcia will be the everyday shortstop for the Milwaukee Brewers and he’s trying to make sure that’s next season. Arcia came out of the gate a little slow after being called up by the Brewers, but he has been turning it up since the calendar switched to September. Last night Arcia went 3 – 5 with 3 R and a solo HR. Arcia is now hitting .417 in seven games during September and we will hopefully start seeing the other numbers pile up soon. Arcia isn’t a must own right now, but he could give you decent production at SS or MI for the next couple weeks in deeper leagues.
9) Padres Working Hard To Reclaim The Career Of Clayton Richard
After being used as a reliever for the majority of this season, the San Diego Padres have been working to get Richard back to a regular starter in their rotation. The process is going quite well and Richard looked amazing last night over seven scoreless innings of work, striking out eight batters in the game. Richard has now made five starts for San Diego and has only three earned runs allowed in 30 innings of work, good for a 0.90 ERA, and he’s even doing it at home and on the road. The strikeouts haven’t been there all that much until last night and I don’t think we can count on them all that much going forward. Still in deep leagues Richard’s resurgence in San Diego is definitely at least worth a look off the waiver wire.
10) The Padres Offensive Charge Led By Ryan Schimpf
The San Diego Padres opened up and poured on the runs against the Colorado Rockies last night and one of the main bats was Ryan Schimpf who went 2 – 4 with 2 R, 1 HR and 4 RBI. This was Schimpf’s second HR in three games and his 18th HR of the season. Schimpf has hit these HR’s in just 215 AB’s, good for a HR every 11.9 AB’s, one of the best rates in all of baseball right now. Before being called up Schimpf had another 15 HR’s at Triple –A too. Schimpf is striking out far too much at 30.1%, but his 13.1% BB rate is helping to make up for it, especially if you’re in an OBP league. There are clear holes in his game still, but Schimpf has real power and I think he has the ability to stay around as a legit fantasy asset for the coming years.